Westminster-Mesa’s Adam Brake, ’16

Westminster College expanded to open a new campus in Mesa, AZ, a rapidly growing and dynamic suburb of Phoenix, in Fall 2013. The following is one of four Q&A’s with Mesa students to find out their take on the Westminster experience in Mesa after their first semester.

A sophomore from Mesa, Adam Brake is majoring in English and creative writing.Mesa--Adam-Brake

Q: What drew you to Westminster?  

Adam: The individualized approach to education. Most universities (especially the one I was looking at going to) felt like a conveyor belt education. At Westminster, rather than see dollar signs above students heads, the faculty sees potential, and nurtures that potential so that the student may reach it.

Q: How do you think your experience at Westminster compares to other colleges and universities? 

Adam: I can honestly say I love my school, and that my school feels like a family. Many students at big universities lack the feeling of family we have at Westminster. That feeling makes us all very open to sharing our opinions, debating, and being actively involved without the fear of embarrassing ourselves.

I know students who have degrees from other universities that can honestly say they never raised their hand in a class, and never shared their opinion once in four years. Hundreds of hours gaining an education, and never once did they share? To me, that is ridiculous.

Being active in class, sharing, finding out your opinion, and trying to convince others is what an education is all about. At Westminster, we are comfortable, and have opinions. I feel that at times other students go their whole education opinion-less. That is the difference.

Westminster is a more involved, determined school. It truly teaches different modes of thinking, and trains students to see the different sides to arguments. Life before Westminster was a heads/tails kind of college experience. Right or wrong. Black or white. Westminster teaches in a way that we learn to look at both sides of the coin.

Q: What was your most memorable experience in the first semester? 

Adam: My most memorable experience was actually working on a final project/presentation for my international studies class. We were required all semester work on our research and craft a research paper and power point presentation. I had finished my work, but never felt right with it, so I did some more research. What happened after was so incredible and mind opening that I just had to rewrite my whole project. Unfortunately, this big revelation came at 11 p.m. the night before the presentation. I finished the presentation and paper, and I got a good score on each.

To some, this might seem like a typical story of mismanagement of time. To me, this epitomized Westminster, and what makes my education special. Through actually trying and doing a project for school, and more importantly caring about it, I was able to look at an issue in which I was convinced was wrong, reassess it, and see it from a different angle. In the end, I found out I was wrong all along, and that I couldn’t deceive myself any more. By doing that, I in a sense freed my mind, and now I do not take anything as fact without making my own conclusions. It was truly a mind-opening experience.

Q: Which faculty member has most influenced you? 

Adam: Prof. Young, my English teacher. He impressed me one day when I was a little down. He passed me in the hallway, and asked me how I was doing. I started talking about my assignments. He listened, but then he asked about how I am doing in life, and that he knows I am working while going to school, and also married, and probably have a lot on my plate. We talked for a good while. It felt so good that someone cared for me so deeply, especially a professor. To say the truth, all the faculty here cares about the students.

Q: What are you experiencing at Westminster that you believe will give you an edge in the job market upon graduation? 

Adam: By gaining the perspective to see both sides, and learning true problem-solving, when the time comes that I will encounter different scenarios, I will be able to assess them, rather than jump blindly into them.

Also, being part of the first class here in Mesa is a story on its own that shows many characteristics: leadership, trust, work ethic, and the spirit of an entrepreneur. All I have to do is tell the story of my education, and it will impress.

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